Various companies have offered an investment of 10000 crores at the investor’s conference held, under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in Dubai to attract foreign investment to Kerala. Offers include DP World (3500 crore), RP Group (1000 crore), Lulu group (1500 crore), Aster (500 crore) and other small scale investors (3500 crore). Among these, DP world is investing in shipping and logistics, RP group in tourism, Lulu in retailing and Aster in health.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the aim is to bring Kerala to the frontline in the matter of investments. He was speaking at the Nonresident Keralites Emerging Entrepreneur’s Meet (NEEM) held at Dubai by Overseas Keralites Investments and Holdings Company. Higher level investment council will be formed to provide necessary aid to expatriate investors. Chief Minister assured the expatriate investors that Kerala is progressing in every respect and requested them to come forward and make investments, using this opportunity.
Drawing investments of Malayali expatriates to Kerala was one of the major ideas that came up in the first Loka Kerala Sabha Convention held in January 2018. 7 subject- based committees were formed on the basis of discussions happened there. These committees made 48 recommendations to the government. The secretariat of Loka Kerala Sabha classified them into 4 categories- investment, welfare, efficiency and art and cultural, and selected 10 recommendations based on feasibility and availability of funds. The most important recommendation among these was the formation of NRI Investment Company. Following this, the investment company Overseas Keralite’s Investment and Holdings Limited was registered to attract expatriate investment. Government owns 26 percentage of company’s share capital and remaining 74 percentage was collected from expatriate keralites. Government shall make use of this company to receive investments from expatriates and to execute practical programmes through related institutions.
State has made a big leap in setting up basic facilities necessary to encourage investments. Kerala is one of the frontline states in India going by any of the yardsticks of development. According to the public affairs index, kerala has the first place in Governance in India since 2016. According to the surveys conducted by India Today etc, we are also at the top in the matter of law and order maintenance. Kerala is the state with no communal riots and is also the state with best health index according to the latest Niti Ayog report. The statistics released by the Mumbai-based organization, ‘India Migration Now’ proves that Kerala is the best state in the country in the matter of friendly attitude to migrant laborers and providing required protection for them. The realization of Coimbatore-Kochi industrial corridor shall pave way for a big leap in the state’s industrial development. Coimbatore- Kochi corridor will be connected to Chennai- Bangalore industrial corridor. Kerala was not included in the National Industrial Corridor project initially. Chief Minister said that the state was recognized after state government prepared special plan and exerted constant pressure on Central government.
Chief Minister also informed that industrial clusters will be formed in relation to industrial corridor. Gail pipeline project aimed at direct distribution of natural gas will be completed by December. Only 3 kilometers remain for the pipe to be laid in the total 408 kilometers. As the LNG terminal also gets realized, low cost and less polluted fuel will be available in plenty across the state. This government is planning and executing various projects suitable to the new age through the industrial department. Priority is given to the projects suiting the Kerala conditions like production of value added products from agricultural crops. Wayanad carbon neutral village coffee park, Rice parks of Palakkad, Thrissur and Alappuzha, CIAL model Rubber Company and the coconut- based industries are examples. Both agricultural and industrial sectors shall attain same improvement through these novel projects. Kerala can make huge leaps in all fronts if more investments and investors come through. As the well-wishers of the state’s progress and the keen observers of its every changes, it is our expatriate community who can effectively recognize the hopeful changes happening in our investment front and thereby, lead the way for global investors – chief minister said.
Chief Minister said that world kerala center will be established to strengthen the relations between the expatriate and Kerala. NORKA expatriate ID card owners and their family members will receive 7% reduction in the travel fare from Oman Airways and efforts will be made to receive the same from more airplane companies. Chief Minister was speaking in the meet with expatriate malayalis at Dubai Indian Academy School as a part of the UAE visit. Central civil aviation minister has promised to allow more aeroplanes for special occasions in those sector. Assurance was given that beforehand information regarding the planes and the chance to book them will be provided.
Kerala government has formed many a programmes for the welfare of the expatriate community. Keralites who have high expertise are working in different parts of the world. Loka Kerala Sabha was formed as a part of making use of their knowledge for the state. It has been possible to ensure safe savings for the expatriates and the development of the state through Kerala Pravasi Chitfund. Various programmes like Business facilitation centre, rehabilitation programme for the returning emigrants ‘norka department project for return emigrants’ etc have been formed under NORKA Roots. In the last fiscal year, 25 crores were distributed through Santhwanam programme for ensuring the welfare of returning emigrants who have to endure financial and physical hardships. This year, over 10 crore rupees was distributed to 1718 beneficiaries. A recruitment section has been working at the Norka Roots centre to ensure that recruitments are safe and transparent. Norka Roots is the recruitment agency recognized by the central government. Government is seriously considering a project for giving training to the labourers to get them recognized. In this way, they get the chance to enter the job as the part of training. Facilities have been arranged at the Norka Roots regional centres for certificate attestation. Norka Roots is the only institution in Kerala authorized by the central government to attest education certificates. Expatriate ID cards are being distributed to resolve the difficulty in contacting Kerala government. Any emigrant Keralite with the multi-purpose photo ID card will receive required service easily through Norka Roots. So far, 4 lakh people have received the ID card online. Every cardholder shall receive 2 lakh rupees as personal accident coverage. Steps have been taken to ensure the aid of Malayali lawyers to those who face legal issues in their emigrant life- chief minister said.
Necessary interventions are made in the central government to increase the number of Malayali employees in the embassy. Global Contact Center has started from 15th February. This toll free facility can be used 24 hours a day to register complaints or services for the expatriates. The centre can be contacted through phone, email, SMS and live chat. A women NRI cell has started functioning at the NORKA roots to deal with the issues faced by women expatriates. Training programmes have been prepared to enhance skill and expertise in accordance with the changes in technology. In relation to this, an international employer conference will be held at Kochi in December.
The ambulance service started in collaboration with IMA to bring sick people and expired people has been beneficial to many. The hike in expatriate pension from 200 rupees to 500 rupees is a part of the concern for expatriate Keralites. Standing with them, the government is trying to solve every issues of emigrants, small and big. There should not be any hesitance to reach out to the government in any issue and at any time. Chief Minister promised necessary steps in this regard.